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Anderson Valley Artists & Friends

Anderson Valley is not only full of vineyards and wineries, it’s also home to a potpourri of artists. Diverse in subject matter and media, many, though not all, have been opening their studios to the public for 11 years. That event is coming up at the end of May.

But this month, April, there are two ways to preview their work, as well as the work of additional artists, both from Anderson Valley and other parts of the county, who also create beautiful work, but are not going to be on the Tour.

A small sampling of work from the 12 artists who are participating in the 11th annual Anderson Valley Open Studios can be seen at Lauren’s restaurant in Boonville. These include Antoinette von Grone, whose incredible large paintings of endangered species are well known; Doug Johnson of Pepperwood pottery (you’ve probably seen his bright blue tiled sign on Highway 128) who does fabulous crystalline glazed pottery; Jan Wax and Chris Bing make stunning pottery adorned with hand sculpted creatures like frogs, moths, lizards, octopus, crabs and many more; Alexis Moyer of “The Pot Shop” fame, also on Highway 128, who makes wonderful whimsical sculptural pieces as well as functional pottery in rich blues and turquoise glazes; Marvin Schenck paints delightful post-impressionist style landscapes of Anderson Valley and the Mendocino County area, as do newcomers to the tour Colleen Basset and Kappy Reed, theirs done in a more traditional/representative style.

Another newcomer to the tour is long-time AV resident Xenia King, who is exhibiting her dramatic paintings and photographs of stormy skies and other views of Mendocino County. Alan Porter of Yorkville creates one-of-a-kind functional, hand pinched ceramics with unique hand-brushed glaze work. Colleen Schenck fabricates marvelous metal jewelry and small scale sculpture as well as mixed media collages.

At Lauren’s you can also see some delightful art by Amalia Hubbert, AV High senior. She draws intricate, intriguing designs in pen, either over or under collaged papers, to create an ethereal effect with a lot of depth.

Much more can be viewed at the Odd Fellows Gallery in Mendocino. A large and airy space, it is packed full of inspiring, beautiful art by an eclectic collection of artists from Elk, Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg and Redwood Valley, as well as Anderson Valley.

Maire Palme, from AV, often does large airbrush paintings of ethereal figures. This time she is showing a number of smaller works, lovely figures in pen and ink, and gorgeous floral inspired designs in colored pencil. Maire says of her art, “Creating peace, discovering inner wisdom and strength, searching for the spark within that could awaken our hearts to realize that our lives are meaningful whatever happens…this inspires me to draw and paint, hoping that maybe a touch of these images could invite the viewer to see the preciousness of our existence.” (Maire’s studio will not be open.)

Another AV artist, Susan Spencer has put together a number of spectacular assemblages. She finds the most wonderful old flotsam and puts them together in delicious ways that, yes, make me drool! (She is not on the tour this year; you have to go to the Odd Fellows to see her pieces.)

Peggy Dart, also from AV and not on the Tour, is displaying her beautiful block prints and intaglio inspired by nature; plus her earthy, hand-built ceramic sculpture.

Yet another AV artist is Linda Baker, who has recently started showing her exciting photographs of the exotic places she has visited. Printed on canvas and stretched over wood, they take on an almost 3-D quality.

One more AV artist is at the Odd Fellows, and her studio will be open on the Tour: Rachel Lahn is well known for her 3-dimensional paintings, complete with stones, shells, beach glass and feathers embedded in them.

Last but not least of the AV artists at Odd Fellows, William Allen and I have a new piece of folk art furniture we are showing: a brightly colored “Tree of Life” in wood applique’ adorns the doors on a large buffet. Also, I am displaying several acrylic paintings from my “Trying to Ignore Global Warming” series, hoping to educate in a playful way the seriousness of this, yes, man-made disaster, wreaking havoc to life all over the Earth.

There is a new, young (barely more than a teenager) artist from Elk I want to mention, Katherine Lewis. Her paintings, charming and playful, evoke a spirit of forest, sea and faerie-tale delight. Don’t miss them!

Jack Glimour of Fort Bragg puts together true flotsam and jetsam, water washed objects he has found on the beach, and from them makes gorgeous scuptures that hang on the wall.

Marvelous paintings are shown by Katherine Kuntsman, Tje Koski and Steve Garner. Knox Gillespie makes lovely, functional pottery; Cassie Gibson sews interesting and intricate wall hangings and painted silk scarves; and Katie Gibbs torches big steel sculptures- the upper gallery floor is home to a huge “crab cage” she constructed, a big 6’ x 6’ cube full of terrific steel “crabs” — very fun to see!

Most of this art is for sale, and there is also a “gift shop” with cards and smaller works of art. The Odd Fellows Gallery Artists’ reception is April 13, from 5-7:30, with plenty of snacks, and probably live music. The show runs April 4-28 from 10:30-5:00 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. (Also closed Monday, April 15.)

The Odd Fellows gallery is run by FLOCKworks and Open Door Art, and is on the corner of Kasten and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino.

You can pick up a brochure for the AV Open Studios tour at the Odd Fellows gallery and at Lauren’s. More info at 895-3134.

--Nancy MacLeod

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